Credit card accounts can be closed by the card issuer or the cardholder. Either way, it may be possible to reopen a credit card that’s been closed if you decide that you wanted the card after all.

There are two related yet distinct ways of reopening a credit card:

  • Reactivating a closed card in a way that preserves the original account information.

  • Reapplying for a card you’ve had before to get a new account.

Whether you can reopen a credit card account depends on the situation and the card issuer’s policies.

Reactivating a closed credit card

Generally, issuers will reopen accounts that have been closed. Cardholders may not even need to submit to a hard pull, which can cause credit scores to temporarily drop.

Here are the relevant policies from seven major card issuers except American Express and Bank of America®, who declined to comment for this story:

  • Barclays: Cardholders who have voluntarily closed their account may reopen it without a hard pull if the request is made within 15 days of closure. After 15 days, cardholders must reapply for the card. If the closure is initiated by the bank, cardholders usually won’t be able to reactivate their accounts, with a few exceptions. For example, for accounts closed due to inactivity, Barclays will reinstate the account if the cardholder requests it within 30 days of closure, but only once. 

  • Capital One: Cardholders have 30 days to submit a request to reopen an account that was previously closed. A review process is required, and approval isn’t guaranteed.

  • Chase: Opening a previously closed Chase account will always require another application and hard pull.

  • Citi: Citi will review requests to reopen a previously closed card. Cardholders may have to submit a new application, depending on the situation. 

  • Discover: If Discover cardholders want to reopen a closed credit card, they have to reapply. 

  • U.S. Bank: A credit card may be reopened without having to reapply if the request is made within 30 days of closure. After that, cardholders will need to submit another application.

  • Wells Fargo: Cardholders who want to reopen a credit card account must apply for the card.

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Reapplying for a credit card you’ve had before

Getting a credit card again that you’ve since closed is possible, but it’s best to contact your card issuer before submitting an application. You might not be able to reapply just yet depending on the date of your last credit application. And in some cases, you may decide it’s not worth getting the card again if you’re ineligible for its sign-up bonus.

Time between applications

You’ll probably need to wait several months — and possibly even a few years — before applying for a card you’ve previously had. For example, if you had either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and received the sign-up bonus for either card, you must wait 48 months before applying for another Chase Sapphire product. Similarly, Wells Fargo says it may not open new lines of credit to those who opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the last six months.

Several issuers also have policies that cap the volume of approvals in a given time frame. Because of its 5/24 rule, Chase won’t approve an application for a new Chase card if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months. The terms and conditions for some Capital One cards state that you’re ineligible for a new Capital One card if you’ve applied for any Capital One card two or more times within the last 30 days, or if you earned the sign-up bonus for the card in the past 48 months.

Sign-up bonus availability

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Even if your issuer allows you to reapply for a card you’ve previously closed, you may not want to. Some issuers won’t let you earn the sign-up bonus more than once for a given card, a major drawback since the best welcome offers are worth hundreds of dollars. With American Express, the lifetime rule mandates that cardholders can get a welcome offer for a card just once. Barclays has the same policy, according to the terms and conditions for its credit cards. Other cards let you claim multiple bonuses, but only after a certain amount of time. For instance, you can’t get the sign-up bonus for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® if you received a welcome offer for the same card in the past 48 months.

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